There the target stood, silhouetted by an angry dawn sky. Skidrid, level three lesser demon of apathy, streaked towards the church, relishing the thought of the forthcoming assault. “Red sky in the morning, demon’s delight” as the saying went in the bunker. It had all the ring of a cracked bell, as did almost everything in the inverted demonic realm.
Skidrid yawned as he spiralled towards the shadowy graveyard on the west, a coil of sulphurous fumes trailed behind him. He cursed the early hour, the previous late night, lazy comrades and the injustice of working against his nature as he went. They didn’t say that it takes three level threes to make one level four for nothing. The only way to descend to level four was to be more conscientious about apathy than all the others. There would be no rest for the wicked if this ambush was to be a success.
A tomb stone provided a convenient perch to check for opponents, including his compatriots. Sometimes there was a tactical advantage to being higher than other demons. The sounds of furtive bickering lead him to the alcove to the store room. There he found a handful of lesser demons at each other’s throats.
“Gosslip, Pancrest!” Skidrid pulled the feuding imps apart, “This is not the time.”
“There is never a right time,” retorted Pancrest, demon of procrastination, level two.
“I’ve done you a ‘to do’ list,” Skidrid thrust a stained parchment to Pancrest, “since we haven’t got time to waste.”
“Why me?” Panchest complained.
“’Cause I have to make sure that the elders can’t decide what to do after the reverend’s adultery,” Skidrid grinned wickedly, “and I wrote the list with the blood of the sucker who couldn’t make up their mind to do as they were told quick enough.”
“Who put him in charge?” whispered Gosslip, demoness of Church politics, level three.
“Unfortuantely, Silvae, was to be our greater demon on this jaunt.” Skidrid lowered his head, in an expression of sorrow. The others quietened and followed suit. “She put on a fine a display of temptation as you level ones will ever see. She dragged down the reverend into the embrace of vice and opened the way up for us to exploit this church with our, lesser, temptations. Never the less she made one lamentable mistake; hell takes her soul.”
“Hell takes her soul!” chorused Skidrid’s congregation.
“She forgot watch her back and got jumped by a trio of angels. Remorse followed by Repentance, then Grace. Never forget that our enemy is just waiting to trump us in every situation by redeeming it,” Skidrid paused to sob, insincerely, for effect, “and now we know that the enemy has agents just waiting to get involved.”
There was fearful muttering in the ranks.
“What are we going to do about it?” Panchest asked his voice shrill with the note of panic.
“Nothing, that is what we are going to do,” the demon of apathy replied. “As long as we make sure that this church does nothing then we can milk misery from the sops. The more we milk them, the bigger we grow. Let them think everything’s hunky-dory while we make the most of it.”
“Keep them divided, I say” said Gosslip.
“I’m in charge because I’m the best at making sure that nothing gets done.” Skidrid pointed at Gosslip. “You are to provide a distraction. The aim of this mission is to keep Christians away from Remorse, Repentance and Grace. The level ones of complacency, bitterness and recrimination are to mark your victims and get your claws into them before the service starts. If we can keep them away from the redeeming qualities then we can get settled in and make the most of it, including the delights of church politics.”
The orders were greeted with sullen silence.
“Attacking just before a service could be dangerous” someone muttered.
“I’m definitely dangerous,” Skidrid snarled “especially when I have put a lot of work in for nothing. We have to make the most of the opening that was created by Silvae’s demise. Are you ready?”
“Yes” the demons hissed without conviction.
“You only have to make it through to the sermon. The assistant minister is a dreadfully dull speaker. I said are you ready?” Skidrid bellowed.
“Oh Yeah!” the demons yelled back with gusto.
“Move out!” The ambuscade made ready to strike.
“When this is over, I can treat myself to a nice long lie in.” Skidrid thought.
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